Meghan Vogel – Victorious by Finishing Last

MeghanVogelThe Ohio Track and Field competition between high school girls brought out the Good Samaritan in 17-year-old Meghan Vogel. She was the first girl from West Liberty Salem to win a track title in more than 20 years when she won the 1600-meter race of her life.  Now she will be remembered for victoriously finishing in last place. What happened in the next race made her famous around the world.

Immediately after her stunning victory, Vogel had to race again.  Exhausted, she was breathing hard, lagging behind, just trying to finish the race.  As she was coming around the last turn, with 100 meters left, she saw another runner, 16-year-old Arden McMath, stumble and crumble to the ground about 50 meters in front of her.  McMath collapsed because she was losing consciousness and control of her body. The race was over for her just short of the finish line.

But Vogel couldn’t ignore the girl on the ground and just run past her, the obvious thing to do. Something inside Vogel enabled her to instinctively pick up her fallen competitor and almost carry her to the finish line.  After seeing McMath go down, Vogel said, “I kind of tried to speed up, just so I could help her to the finish line.” And that’s exactly what she did, supporting McMath and pushing and dragging her over the finish line.

McMath said her body just gave out, describing that she was “blacking out” and her legs were cramping so badly that she wasn’t going to be able to go much farther. “I fell, I think twice, and she helped me the third time.” She was amazed when Meghan picked her up because she didn’t expect that at all. "I really don't think just everyone would have done that," McMath said. "I just couldn't believe what she did — especially pushing me in front of her – and I'm so grateful."

So although Meghan Vogel was the one that dragged both of them to the finish line, she made sure Arden McMath crossed the finish line before her, explaining, “She was in front of me the whole race, so she deserved to finish in front of me no matter what it took,” Meghan said, “I think everyone should do that for somebody.”

Vogel said she was surprised by the widespread praise she received for an act of selflessness. “It’s strange to have people telling me that this was such a powerful act of kindness and using words like ‘humanity,’” she said. “I don’t consider myself a hero. I just did what I was supposed to do.”

Even though the rules state that a runner is automatically disqualified for helping another runner during a race, officials allowed McMath and Vogel’s times to remain in the results, with McMath in second-to-last and Vogel in last place. They both ran an inspiring, valiant race to the end—together. This is what we do for one another because this is what our God does for us. He picks us up when we fall and carries us across the finish line.

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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